The land of famines and drought: China

For more than two millennia, imperial records show that China has suffered from droughts and famines on an annual basis in one or more of its provinces.  This history may explain why China spent several centuries starting long before the birth of Christ to build its thousand mile long Grand Canal that puts the Panama and Suez Canals to shame.

Today, China finds itself water challenged in the north and southwest.  The Daily Mail reported January 2014 that “The largest freshwater lake in China which covers an expanse twice the size of London has dried up because of an ongoing drought.”

Solve Climate News reports that drought had dried up areas of southern China.  Three-hundred-and-ten reservoirs, 580 rivers and 3,600 pools have been baked dry.

Older villagers say reservoirs and irrigation channels are dry for the first time in their lives.

Some blame Global Warming, while environmental activists blame China’s biggest hydro-engineering project, the South-to-North water diversion scheme, which is designed to channel water north to cities such as Beijing and Tianjin.

In fact, this couldn’t be true because the South-to-North water diversion will not be completed until 2050 and due to environmental concerns; the western line is still in the planning stages. Only the eastern and central lines are under construction. Source: Water Link International

CNN reports that drought in northern China is threatening crops in at least 12 provinces where more than 3.5 million people live, including about 2 million livestock. More than 200 million people live in northern China.

The only region of China that’s getting torrential, record rainfall is southeast China where floods have killed many and displaced thousands. Source

Much of China’s water originates in Tibet. In southwest China, the Mekong River originates on the Tibetan plateau. The Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers comes from the glaciers and melt water of the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. However, the snow and ice in Tibet is melting and the region is turning into a desert.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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One Response to The land of famines and drought: China

  1. […] leaders were willing to let millions of Chinese starve to death, and then blame Mao even though China is known as the Land of Famines, because Imperial records for more than 2,000 years recorded that China has had droughts, floods, […]

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